I hope you all had a lovely holiday, whatever you celebrate. I personally had a pretty low-key Christmas with my family and the break was a welcome change. Now that the hustle and bustle of a new year has begun, I am deeply immersed in teaching my regular weekly classes (woot!!) and planning some awesome Toronto springtime flow events.
HooperSonic is turning 4 years old on March 23rd and, as usual, we will celebrate in style with a mini flow fest featuring talented, local (and surrounding) instructors. We will eat delicious food, draw for raffle prizes and much more… All included in the ticket price! I am really looking forward to this event because each year we make it more fun and this year is shaping up to be just that.
The following month, I am also preparing to host the wonderful Jennifer Dennehy, who was June’s Hooper of the Month (HOTM)! She has been busy being recognized for her amazing children’s programming in the USA and travelling to share her gift of teaching hoop dance in India. I am so excited to train with her on April 27th.
Tickets go on sale for both of these events soon. If you want updates and info on these events, check out the events on our Facebook page (HooperSonicToronto)
Now, onto the new HOTM for the new year!
Last year, I promised the questions would change for 2019 and that we’d hear from hoopers in other countries and what do you know… I delivered! (Hah) I must say, the investigative process has been fun so far.
The first country we will visit is France! I have actually followed this woman online for a while and she is kind of a hula hoop celebrity! Her Instagram page is SO colourful and fun. You will her multi hooping, playing with other props, amazing costumes, and some super sexy burlesque! I truly enjoy watching her little combos and trying to replicate them. After watching her for all these years, I was honoured when she so kindly agreed to answer my questions.
Congrats and thank you to:
Here is her interview:
What is your name?
My hoop name is Lila Chupa-Hoops! Lila is my second name (after Margaux) and Chupa-Hoops is a play on the lollipop “Chupa Chups”.
Where do you live and what is the flow/hoop dance community like there?
I live in Paris, France. Of course, being in the capital city means I'm part of the biggest community of the country. We have a beautiful, free, shared flow space in Paris. I'm glad the hoop dance is now fully integrated in this overall juggling community and not just a weird girl hobby. ha ha
How long have you been hooping for and how did your journey begin?
I have been hooping for 8.5 years now. I first saw hooping when I was 22, at Nowhere Festival in Spain (considered the European Burning Man). I was hypnotized by a girl dancing with a big, big hoop and it only took me a couple of weeks to buy my own on Amazon. Then I spent hours watching old school YouTube tutorials.
Generally, why do you hoop and what benefits have you noticed since you began?
When I started I wasn't doing any physical or artistic activities. Hooping became my first way of expression through movement. I realized I could move people with my dance. Maybe it is a bit egocentric but I guess at the time, I needed this feeling of admiration from others. I promise, I'm on the introvert side in real life. On the physical side, I saw my body change in a more harmonious way. I was gaining muscles and flexibility and it was much more fun than going to the gym!
Have you and your hoop travelled to other countries/cities together? What were some of your favourite flow communities to visit? Which places are you (and your hoop) eager to visit in the future?
As a performer and teacher, I had the chance to travel to quite a lot of conventions (Although, you don't always have the time to visit the area outside of the convention). Sometimes I get invited and sometimes I arrange my own tour... I think Australian hoopers have been so welcoming. (Sydney/Melbourne) I love their great circus skills and craziness at the same time. I'm eager to discover Sri Lanka this year as part of the Hoop Dream Retreat and I'd love to put Iceland and Canada on my next list!
What inspires your hoop dance flow?
Before I train, I always do 10 minutes of pure flow with one hoop. I just empty my mind and follow the flow. I like to listen to melodic music that fits a more sensual style, grounded and slow. Funk and House music are also perfect for me because I love to follow a strong, groovy beat.
In my acts, there's always a story behind it. I like themed shows where the music, the costume and the props drive you into a specific character. It can come from a set theme (futuristic for my Roxanne act), from a costume I found (my Tropical act) or from a movie that moved me (“In the Mood for Love” for my latest act).
What hoop move/technique are you working on at the moment?
I'm at a point where I try to train other props more than hooping. But it's for the better because when I learn new techniques, I can go back to my hoop and try to apply them to. I've been trying the “3 Hoops Bramson Roll” but haven't had any success yet! I'm awaiting the return of nicer days and hoop events to get back in contact with other creative hoopers, for the benefits of new inspiration and troubleshooting.
What’s your “go-to” hoop technique/method/trick/style at the moment?
Well my “go-to” trick would probably be the “Wedgie Mandala Into a Sphere” (4 hoops). Every time the audience gets crazy because they don't expect that... Honestly, I think I did it hundreds of times this year... maybe I should find a new signature trick (ha ha) but it’s not that easy.
Here is an example of the Wedgie Mandala Into a Sphere:
Who are some of your favourite hoopers/flow artists to follow online and what do you love about them?
On Instagram, I follow mainly tech videos, I admit. They are so visually pleasing, you know!
Jasmine Kienne for twins magic: @hothoopdancemama
Taylor Flows and Flow Prince for small hoop flow: @taylor_flows and @flow_prince
Grace Good for multi hooping and serious badass dragonstaff flow: @messsmerizing
Do you have a favourite hoop maker? What hoop do you use and love?
I made most of my hoops for a few years but now I am a lucky sponsored hooper by HoopSpin, Gail O'Brien's company. For single hooping, I would go for a thicker hoop in 18mm to 20mm. (Example: HoopSpins Goldilocks Hoop) For twins I would go for a bit lighter, thinner and smaller. Most of my hoops are taped with 3M grip tape on the inside... dancing with a naked hoop feels so weird to me now!!
You can check out HoopSpin here: www.hoopspin.co.uk
What advice or wisdom would you share with someone who is struggling with their practice or feeling in a “rut” at the moment?
I would say that if your goals are not reachable, of course, you're going to endure frustration. You may not be as flexible as Lisa Lottie or as fast as Rachel Lust, for example. Go at your own pace, take the time to understand what is going wrong, take a private class with a specific teacher that will make the trick click and try the method that has been great for my creativity lately; Pick up other props and see how you can incorporate new moves into your flow!
Thank you so much Lila! Here is where you can find her online too!
Website : www.lilachupahoops.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/LilaChupaHoops
Instagram : www.instagram.com/lila_chupahoops
Organiser of Rendez-v'HOOP France : www.facebook.com/rendezvhoop
Teaching an intensive in Australia at Hoopy Happenings 2019 : http://www.hoopyhappenings.com/
Hoop Love and Hugs!